This week sees yet another International break from the usual rounds of the Barclays Premier League, with Marouane Fellaini, Kevin Mirallas, Nikica Jelavic, Leon Osman, Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka, Darron Gibson, Tim Howard, Jonny Heitinga, Bryan Oviedo, Apostolos Vellios, Jan Mucha and Steven Naismith all joining up with their national teams.
That impressive list certainly shows that our team has gone from being a side that has little International experience to one that has International's right the way through the back bone of the team.
The fixtures to watch out for from an Everton point of view are as follows: Belgium Vs Slovakia (Fellaini, Mirallas and Mucha), Croatia Vs South Korea (Jelavic), England Vs Brazil (Baines, Jagielka and Osman), Rep. Ireland Vs Poland (Gibson), Netherlands Vs Italy (Heitinga), Panama Vs Costa Rica (Oviedo), Greece Vs Switzerland (Vellios) and finally Scotland Vs Estonia (Naismith).
These International fixtures in my opinion could not have come at a better time for Everton as our form has begun to dip in the last couple of games. The break can only become a relief and a change of scenery may do some of the players some good.
Obviously the game on Sunday against Manchester United is one of upmost importance. Therefore I wouldn't necessarily want to see our most valued members of our team complete a full 90 minutes whilst with their country. We need to show at Old Trafford why we are being talked about as a top four team and go for the win, giving the performance of our season. It would also send a message to Tottenham and Arsenal, making them work harder for something we should value as highly as winning a cup.
I reckon the worry regarding Fellaini's injury is simply a precaution on Moyes' behalf to take him out of training with his country and hopefully have some rest to regain energy. Fellaini has had a tough season so far, being kicked, left, right and centre. It has to have taken its toll on the big fella and a break is the least he deserves, especially after his saving double against Villa.
Phil Jagielka, who is looking to gain his 17th England cap on Wednesday, has competition for his place at centre back from former Everton team mate Joleon Lescott, Manchester Utd Centre back Rio Ferdinand and Chelsea's Gary Cahill.
Baines only has one main competitor in Ashley Cole. England Boss Roy Hodgson was quoted as saying "Baines is equal to the quality of Ashley Cole" though Cole is expected to start in order to earn his 100th England cap. Further up the field Leon Osman Competes with Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, James Milner and Scott Parker, to earn his well deserved 2nd Cap.
Lets hope the Blues on International duty all come home without injuries and hopefully a few goals under their belt. A full International break report will be posted on Thursday 7th February.